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Spending Time

Richard Quinn

AFTER 78 YEARS, my plumbing has gone awry, and I’m not talking about the kitchen sink. My doctor said something about my prostate having its own zip code. I’m waiting to have surgery and, because of fear of COVID, I’ve been quarantined for the past month.

We were supposed to be in Florida. For several years, we had rented a house using VRBO. Luckily, I was able to cancel within a week of our reservation date with no hassle. I received a full $10,000 refund within three days.

I’ve confirmed that Medicare works. I chose my own doctor and, thanks to my Medigap plan, my bills will be limited to the Part B deductible. Even my prescriptions—more in the last month than in my entire life combined—cost me copayments of $5.42, $14.28, $18 and $0. The fact is, despite the outliers we hear about, the great majority of the most commonly used medications are affordable. In checking the possible side effects of one prescription, I discovered unanticipated benefits. It causes hair to grow on your head and reduces the desire for alcohol. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to be prone to either side effect—at least not yet.

My confinement has led to boredom. My motivation to do much of anything has waned. I’m watching more TV than ever before. Did you know you can still watch Laurel and Hardy and Ozzie and Harriet?

I’ve also learned how easy it is to shop online. I used to be amazed at the number of packages arriving daily for an elderly lady in our building. Now, I understand. Online shopping is addictive, especially when you’re bored or lonely.

I started by innocently exploring a few things on Amazon. Just necessities, don’t you know. Then I was duped by Facebook ads. The Irish sausages looked interesting. I’m always up for bangers and mash, as well as white pudding. I moved on to a site for assorted snacks, candy and pretzels. Then there’s the ice cream. What a selection. Luckily, I was saved because there’s no room in our freezer, otherwise it would have been filled with butter pecan and mint chocolate chip. Charles Chips brought back memories, too. We used to buy them off the company’s truck. Now you buy them online.

Even shopping for regular groceries can get out of hand. Just search and click, no aisles to walk. They say you’re prone to buy more if you shop while hungry. Imagine you’re hungry—and bored. Did I need those bags of popcorn, the raspberry ice tea or that can of corned beef hash? Hey, I ordered organic celery, too.

I claim to have a modicum of frugality. That seems to have fallen by the wayside.

Oh my, what can happen when you have time on your hands. It’s so easy, choose your purchase, add your credit card info and check out. It’s like EZ-Pass. Who pays tolls? You just drive through the toll booth. It’s all free—at least until the end of the month.

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medhat
medhat
6 months ago

Best wishes on a full and speedy recovery Richard!

Andrew Forsythe
Andrew Forsythe
6 months ago

Dick, best wishes for a speedy recovery. Look forward to seeing you back here very soon!

steveark
steveark
6 months ago

I had a complicated surgery to fix a rare and dangerous misarrangement of internal organs that went very well. Medicare and supplemental insurance is wonderful! I was billed $249,000 for the robotic procedures (and the eight medical professionals on the surgical team), and my out of pocket costs were zero. Good luck with your recovery!

mytimetotravel
mytimetotravel
6 months ago

Since I am immuno-compromised I have been mostly locked down for the last two years, so I can’t get too sympathetic about a month. Try reading – I have been visiting the library, masked, but now masks aren’t required for others I may go back to contact-less pickup, which is still available.

Nice for you that your drugs are cheap, I am already out of the donut hole for this year. My drug costs last year were nearly $6,000 even with a Part D plan.

Good luck with the surgery. And especially with the recovery, you presumably won’t be conscious for the surgery.

R Quinn
R Quinn
6 months ago
Reply to  mytimetotravel

Try being quarantined in a ships cabin for three weeks. That’s how my wife and I started the pandemic two years ago.

mytimetotravel
mytimetotravel
6 months ago
Reply to  R Quinn

Three weeks two years ago plus one month now versus two years and counting. I know which I would pick, but I don’t have a choice.

R Quinn
R Quinn
6 months ago
Reply to  mytimetotravel

It was a joke, not trying to compare with your situation. Sorry

mytimetotravel
mytimetotravel
6 months ago
Reply to  R Quinn

Apology accepted. Not a topic I find amusing, but no doubt, after two years, my sense of humor is one of the casualties.

R Quinn
R Quinn
6 months ago
Reply to  mytimetotravel

very understandable. I got COVID twice. Once after getting both shots and once after getting booster, but i was lucky, quite mild, but nothing to take chances with.

Jerry Pinkard
Jerry Pinkard
6 months ago

PC seems to be on the rise, at least in my small circles as several friends and relatives are dealing with it. Best wishes on your surgery and I pray for a speedy recovery with no complications.

I too have fallen victim to online shopping. With Omicron on the rise, I ordered a lot of things during Christmas. In my effort to quarantine, I even discovered I could order stuff from our local drugstore and get free home delivery (with tip), We do contactless online ordering for food several times a week and order stuff from retailers and they bring it to our car.

Our community just dropped its mask requirement. This morning I was in my local grocery store where I shop every week. I did not immediately recognize the 2 women checking me out and then I realized this was the first time I had seen them without a mask, and they have been checking me out for 2 years!

George Counihan
George Counihan
6 months ago

Best of luck to you and once you are back to good health keep advocating for those PSAs and DREs … very important

Guest
Guest
6 months ago

Thank you Mr Quinn and I hope the very best for your health. This is also a great reminder for men to have their PSA checked at least annually starting at, say, age 50. I know too many guys who don’t go to their GP regularly. Prostate cancer is so easy to get ahead of and take care of. My PSA is in the 8-9 range and a prior biopsy showed only negligible cancer so I’m in a watch and wait period but am going back to the urologist every 6 months.
Please guys, get your PSA checked regularly!

Michael l Berard
Michael l Berard
6 months ago

Hello, Mr. Quinn. I sympathize with you, three years prior, I was diagnosed with an aggressive type of prostate cancer, and at 58 years old , my urologist wanted to immediately remove it, my psa levels had been in the high teens and rising into the twenties and the fourth biopsy finally showed cancer .

It was the first time that I needed to be admitted to any hospital and thirty six hours later I was back home, with a few very exciting side effects, to put it mildly.

But, the bit of inconvenience now is well worth it, if I had done nothing, I would have maybe 8 years left on the good side of the grass.

So, I wish you well, I always enjoy reading your articles, and I hope you have a quick and full recovery.

My brush with a serious condition made me appreciate every day a bit more, and I no longer let minor issues bother me , now that my last 3 psa tests have shown zero levels, my urologist says I am cancer free and that is a tremendous relief .

Also, I will gladly take all of that ice cream off your hands, no charge!

R Quinn
R Quinn
6 months ago

Darn, I clicked on the link here to Charles Chips just for fun and was “forced” to buy a can of pretzels. I just have to get out of the house. The pre-admission folks at the hospital yesterday said be sure to bring your phone and charger. What damage will I do there?

Rick Connor
Rick Connor
6 months ago
Reply to  R Quinn

Be nice to the nurses! It will make your experience so much better.

Rick Connor
Rick Connor
6 months ago

Best of luck Dick. I had prostate surgery 10 years ago. Doing fine now. Don’t make the mistake I made and try to come back too soon – give yourself the time to heal. Looking forward to reading your next adventure.

Donny Hrubes
Donny Hrubes
6 months ago
Reply to  Rick Connor

My two favorite HD guys, Rick C. and Rick. Q
I also went through this in Sept 2021 and now am fine. The operation was termed the golden standard of treatment of which there are several and I wanted the most assurance of not having a re-occurrence. They gave me a PC score of 8 out of 10 which is a ‘have to do something’ score. by the time the ol prostate came out it was a 7 score. I had started an exercise program with a trainer which probably made the difference. At least it went in the right direction.

Starting a gym schedule and sticking to it might be a way to get out of the see N buy syndrome, but gotta keep off the phone while on the exercise bikes!

Good luck R.Q.!
Attitude = Altitude!

Newsboy
Newsboy
6 months ago

Godspeed to your doctors in resolving this health challenge, Dick. Writing is great therapy. HD readers like me typically get a little excited when your byline appears in our daily HD feed: a dose of common sense in plain language (mixed in with a splash of self-deprecating Irish humor) is bound to follow.

Now put away that Amazon bong you’ve been inhaling from…Your thrifty reputation hangs in the balance! 🙂

R Quinn
R Quinn
6 months ago
Reply to  Newsboy

I was going to provide a clever reply, but all I could think of was, thank you. Off to the hospital in a few hours. Today is the day. With any luck I’ll be back on HD tomorrow annoying people. 👍

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